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Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Azerbaijan

Health and safety laws

The Labor Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the primary legislation governing health and safety in Azerbaijan. Key provisions related to health and safety are found in Chapters 33-36 of the Code. The Law on Labor Protection (1999) sets out the general principles and framework for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions in Azerbaijan. Several other laws and regulations address specific aspects of health and safety, including the Law on Industrial Safety at Hazardous Industrial Facilities, the Law on Fire Safety, and the Law on Sanitary-Epidemiological Welfare.

Key Principles of Health and Safety Legislation

Employers have the primary responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers. This includes providing a safe workplace, conducting risk assessments, implementing preventive measures, providing training and information, and maintaining health and safety records. Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace, to receive information and training on hazards, to refuse dangerous work, and to participate in health and safety matters. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Azerbaijan and its respective agencies are responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations and providing guidance to employers and employees.

Specific Areas Covered by Health and Safety Laws

Regulations address workplace design, machinery and equipment safety, fire safety, electrical safety, and emergency preparedness. Laws govern the handling, storage, labeling, and disposal of hazardous substances, as well as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Regulations address physical workload, manual handling, and the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders. Provisions cover health surveillance, first aid, and the prevention of diseases. Additional regulations may apply to high-risk industries such as construction, mining, and oil and gas.

Enforcement and Compliance

The labor inspectorate has the authority to conduct workplace inspections, investigate violations, and issue fines and improvement notices. Employers who violate health and safety regulations may face administrative penalties or, in severe cases, criminal prosecution.

While Azerbaijan has a legal framework for health and safety, challenges remain in implementation and enforcement, particularly in smaller enterprises and informal sectors. The government is taking steps to strengthen health and safety regulations, improve enforcement, and promote a culture of prevention.

Occupational health and safety

In Azerbaijan, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) framework is primarily guided by the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Law on Labour Protection. These legislations define fundamental employer responsibilities and worker rights regarding OHS, and provide a comprehensive system for managing workplace safety and health.

Occupational Safety Standards

Employers are required to identify, assess, and control hazards across various categories, including physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, and psychosocial hazards. They must ensure machines are properly guarded, maintained, and employees are trained in their safe operation. Employers are also required to provide and ensure the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when engineering controls cannot sufficiently eliminate hazards. Additionally, plans must be in place for fire, evacuation, and first-aid response.

Occupational Health Standards

Medical examinations may be required for workers exposed to specific hazards. Employers must take measures to prevent occupational diseases and provide compensation for affected workers. Industrial hygiene focuses on controlling workplace exposures to chemical, biological, and physical agents. Provision of clean drinking water, toilets, and washing facilities are also mandated.

OHS Management Systems

Risk assessment is the cornerstone of OHS management. Employers must systematically identify, analyze, and prioritize workplace hazards and risks. They must implement control measures following the hierarchy of controls: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment. Workers must receive OHS training relevant to their job tasks and the hazards present. Consultation and participation of workers in OHS matters is encouraged to improve safety culture and decision-making. Incident reporting and investigation is essential for identifying root causes and preventing future accidents.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections are crucial in maintaining safe and healthy working conditions in Azerbaijan. They serve as a proactive measure to identify and rectify potential hazards, thereby safeguarding the well-being of workers and preventing accidents. Regular inspections also foster adherence to labor laws and standards.

Authorities Involved

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population is the primary authority responsible for labor issues and occupational safety and health (OSH) in Azerbaijan. The State Labour Inspectorate Service, an enforcement body under the Ministry, is tasked with conducting workplace inspections.

Inspection Procedures

The inspection process involves several steps:

  1. Planning and Scheduling: The State Labour Inspectorate Service creates inspection plans based on factors such as hazard levels, accident history, and compliance records.
  2. Notice: Employers are generally given advance notice of inspections, except in cases of imminent danger or complaints.
  3. Opening Conference: Inspectors hold an opening meeting with employer representatives to explain the inspection's purpose and scope.
  4. Walkthrough Inspection: Inspectors examine the workplace, identifying hazards, non-compliance issues, and potential risks.
  5. Document Review: Inspectors review OSH records, permits, training logs, and other relevant documentation.
  6. Interviews: Inspectors may interview workers and managers to gather further information.
  7. Closing Conference: Inspectors present their findings and discuss necessary corrective actions.
  8. Inspection Report: A formal report is issued, outlining violations, recommendations, and deadlines for corrective action.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections in Azerbaijan cover a comprehensive range of OSH aspects, including general workplace conditions, machinery and equipment safety, hazardous substances, fire safety and emergency preparedness, electrical safety, ergonomics, first aid and medical facilities, and OSH management systems.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of workplace inspections in Azerbaijan varies based on risk levels. High-risk workplaces are subject to more frequent inspections, while medium and low-risk workplaces may have less frequent inspections. Complaints, accidents, or significant changes in work processes may also trigger additional inspections.

Follow-Up Actions

Employers are required to address identified violations within specified deadlines. Inspectors may conduct follow-up inspections to verify that corrective actions have been implemented. Failure to comply with OSH regulations can result in fines, administrative penalties, or even work stoppage in severe cases.

Workplace accidents

Workplace accidents are a serious matter that require immediate attention and proper reporting. In the Republic of Azerbaijan, employers are mandated by the Labour Code to report serious workplace accidents without delay. The report should be made to the State Labour Inspectorate Service, relevant law enforcement agencies (if criminal activity is suspected), and trade unions (if applicable).

Reporting Protocols

Employers have a three-day window to submit a detailed written report to the insurance company covering the accident. This report should include the date, time, and location of the accident, a detailed description of events and circumstances, names and personal information of injured workers, the nature and extent of injuries, witness statements (if available), and immediate corrective actions taken.

Investigation of Workplace Accidents

The employer is primarily responsible for investigating workplace accidents. The State Labour Inspectorate Service plays an oversight role and conducts investigations in cases of severe or fatal accidents. The employer typically forms an investigation committee consisting of OSH specialists, employer representatives, and union representatives (if applicable).

The investigation process involves securing the scene to preserve evidence, gathering information by reviewing documents, interviewing witnesses, inspecting equipment, identifying the underlying causes of the accident, and developing corrective and preventive measures. A formal report summarizes the investigation findings, root causes, and recommendations.

Compensation for Accidents and Injuries

Azerbaijani employers are required to secure compulsory insurance for work-related injuries and occupational diseases. The types of compensation include coverage for medical expenses, wage replacement during the recovery period, payments if the injury results in long-term impairment, and compensation to the deceased worker's dependents.

The injured worker (or their dependents) submit a claim to the insurance company, which then reviews the claim, investigates, and determines the compensation amount.

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